A Role for Emotional Granularity in Judging

Authors

  • Maria Gendron Yale University
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett Northeastern University, 3. Department Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Keywords:

Emotion, granularity, decision-making, Emoción, granularidad, toma de decisiones

Abstract

Emotions are traditionally viewed as detrimental to judicial responsibility, a belief rooted in the classical view of the mind as a battle ground between reason and emotion. Drawing on recent developments in psychology and neuroscience we propose that the brain uses past experience, organized as concepts, to guide actions and give sensations meaning, constructing experiences such as “fear” or “anger”. Wisdom comes from skill at constructing emotions in a more precise and functional way, a skill called “emotional granularity”. Studies show that individuals who are more emotionally granular have better function across a range of domains, including self regulation and decision making. We propose that effective judicial decision-making does not require a dispassionate judge, but a judge who is high in emotional granularity. We lay out an empirical agenda for testing this idea and end by discussing empirically supported recommendations for increasing emotional granularity in the judiciary.

Tradicionalmente, se ha considerado que las emociones son perjudiciales para el desempeño responsable de la labor judicial, una creencia enraizada en la concepción clásica de la mente como campo de batalla entre razón y emoción. Partiendo de nuevos descubrimientos en psicología y neurociencia, argumentamos que el cerebro usa la experiencia pasada, organizada como conceptos, para guiar las acciones y dar sentido a las sensaciones, construyendo experiencias como “miedo” o “ira”. La sabiduría proviene de la habilidad en construir emociones de un modo más preciso y funcional, habilidad denominada “granularidad emocional”. Los estudios muestran que los individuos más granulares emocionalmente funcionan mejor en varios dominios, incluyendo la autorregulación y la toma de decisiones. Argumentamos que la toma de decisiones eficaz en judicatura no requiere de un juez desapasionado, sino de un juez que tenga alta granularidad emocional. Proponemos un programa empírico para poner a prueba esa idea, y concluimos con un debate de recomendaciones de base empírica para aumentar la granularidad emocional en la judicatura.

Available from:
https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1087

Author Biography

Maria Gendron, Yale University

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology, Yale University

317 Kirtland Hall

2 Hillhouse Ave

New Haven, CT 06511 USA

maria.gendron@yale.edu

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1845-6722

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Published

03-12-2018

How to Cite

Gendron, M. and Barrett, L. F. (2018) “A Role for Emotional Granularity in Judging”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 9(5), pp. 557–576. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1101 (Accessed: 9 December 2021).

Issue

Section

Theoretical, Cultural and Historical Perspectives